Robert Kraft, the billionaire owner of the Patriots was charged in Palm Beach County with soliciting prostitution for allegedly going into a massage parlor and receiving sexual contact. His attorneys challenged the case on many fronts, but ultimately succeeded by attacking the validity of the search warrant that allowed them to place a video camera in the private areas of the massage parlor. The court was troubled by the fact that the cameras would film people in an intimate setting, many of which may not have been breaking the law. The State argued that the warrants were justified, in part because they could help fight human trafficking, but no trafficking charges were filed in relation to these cases.
The court suggested that such a warrant could potentially be possible if it included enough restrictions to prevent filming innocent individuals, but that it fell far short. Placing a video camera in such an intimate place is extremely invasive, and is the kind of thing that troubled the court greatly, and the court suppressed all the evidence obtained through these searches, which covered Kraft and several other co-defendants that were caught up in the same operation.
The State appealed the court’s ruling, and the case was on hold until the recent decision by the 4th DCA appellate court that agreed with the trial court. The court wrote, “The type of law enforcement surveillance utilized in these cases is extreme,” and set a precedent that will set limits on the use of “sneek and peek” warrants. The State declined to appeal the case to the Florida Supreme court, making today’s announcement that they were dropping the charges inevitable. Several other defendants, in multiple counties, who still had charges pending will see their cases dropped, and many of the others involved had already gotten their charges dropped by completion of a diversion program. Most importantly, this case, between the trial judge and the appellate court, has sent a strong message against law enforcement doing invasive searches like the sneek and peek warrants.
The second murder trial of Aaron Hernandez has been underway in Boston, and the key witness against him recently took the stand. Holy cow the testimony was a doozy! Dan Wetzel did a great story detailing the testimony and the twisted background that let up to it. In short, after he allegedly shot the two men for the slight of spilling a drink on him at a nightclub, Hernandez grew more and more paranoid, and ultimately shot his friend in the face to prevent him from having a chance to turn him in. That friend, Alexander Bradley, survived only to refuse to break code and snitch on his friend. You should really go read the whole piece by Wetzel.
From a legal point of view, the case is fascinating. Bradley puts Hernandez at the scene, and describes him committing the murder. But Bradley’s testimony is going to be mercilessly attacked by defense attorney Jose Baez, who will claim that he’s the actual shooter. It’s his word alone that can convict Hernandez, and he has a motive to testify against the man he now says shot him in the face. The fact that Bradley initially refused to finger Hernandez as the man who shot him may actually help his credibility. The evidence suggests that these two men were in the car, and that one of them committed the crime. Bradley has his own charges, ranging from drug dealing and assault to shooting up a bar on another occasion. The State’s star witness is no angel. Regardless of the outcome, Hernandez is not likely to ever be released from prison, having already been sentenced to life for the murder of Odin Lloyd, though he is appealing that decision.
via Yahoo! Sports
Former NFL tight end Aaron Hernandez was found guilty today of First Degree Murder in the killing of Odin Lloyd. The jury deliberated for about a week before reaching the verdict. There is no death penalty in Massachusetts, so the judge went ahead and sentenced Hernandez to life in prison, which carries no possibility of parole.
Jurors gave a press conference afterword. They were apparently not impressed by the defense version of the story, and surprised at the fact that his attorney conceded he was present at the scene of the murder. However, they also were pretty moved by the State’s evidence, so they may have found him guilty if the Defense hadn’t present a theory of the case. They just needed a better one, but the evidence didn’t allow it.
Today represents the fifth full day of deliberations in the murder trial of Aaron Hernandez. Yahoo’s Dan Wetzel points out that this is not an unusual time frame for a Massachusetts murder trial jury, especially on a complicated case like this. The presentation of the trial took 41 days, and the proof appears to be circumstantial, albeit substantial.
The jury is out in the murder trial of Aaron Hernandez for the killing of Odin Lloyd. During closing arguments, his attorney conceded he was present at the killing, but argues there is not proof that he took part. There are 2 charged co-defendants, who are still awaiting trial: neither testified against Hernandez.
A note for fellow media outlets covering the courts, do not approach the jury! A TV crew at this trial in Massachusetts nearly caused a mistrial.
Former Patriot Aaron Hernandez has additional murder charges stemming from a drive-by shooting in 2012. One of the survivors of the drive-by has identified Hernandez as the shooter: it’s a little odd that he only recognized him after he was arrested for the later murder, but there is some damning circumstantial evidence compounding the case. The new allegations mean Hernandez may have played a season of football after killing two people in a drive-by.
The new charges may help the Patriots in the salary dispute with Hernandez, as Miguel Benzan pointed out in the Patsfans.com post we referenced yesterday, that means there is a prior existing circumstance that will prevent his availability, meaning the Patriots may be able to go after his signing bonus on his contract extension. Of course, the team needs to get in line, the families of the 2012 victims have already filed wrongful death actions. Hernandez may spend the rest of his life behind bars.
The NFL Players Association has filed a grievance for several million dollars on behalf of Aaron Hernandez for money he is owed. This was expected, due to certain guarantees in his contract. I’m curious how much money the team will spend to fight giving away money they contractually are obligated to pay. It will probably resolve by negotiation, which makes the most financial sense for both parties, and could avoid further negative media coverage for the Patriots.
Aaron Hernandez was indicted on first degree murder charges by a grand jury, yesterday. Formerly a member of the New England Patriots, he was cut by the team shortly after his arrest several weeks ago. Ironically, the team may have to pay him more due to their haste in releasing him. They still owe him several million dollars as part of his signing bonus. Certainly the Pats will fight those payments, but they could end up writing checks to his inmate account.
The irony is that if the Patriots had left him on the roster, they would be more likely to recoup that money. Hernandez, who is likely to remain incarcerated, would be in breach and not able to receive those bonuses. The Patriots have already refused to pay an $82,000 workout bonus, and the union plans to file a grievance.
I am fortunate the I was able to cut him from my fantasy football keeper league team without any penalty!